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Butler University Names New Theatre Department Chair
INDIANAPOLIS--William Fisher, director of the School of Theater at Ohio University and a professor there since 1991, will become chair of the Butler University Theatre Department beginning in August.
Fisher's resume includes more than 20 years of training actors and creating new theater works. His professional work regularly takes him overseas to London, Hamburg, Germany and Iceland.
In 2009, he was a Fulbright Research and Teaching Fellow in the Theory and Practice Program in the Theater Department of the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavik.
"I wasn't necessarily looking for a change," Fisher said. "I was drawn specifically to the position at Butler, the history and the tradition of the University back to its founding, and to the theater department. The academic standards are ones of excellence, and I was drawn to the Theatre Department's international focus, the focus on a diverse and contemporary approach to theater and the openness and the true collegial collaboration I sensed in the faculty."
Ohio's School of Theatre has around 250 students, about triple the size of Butler's.
Fisher said he believes strongly in international and study-abroad programs as a way to diversify the student population. At Ohio, following the successful development of the Global Theater Initiative study abroad programs in Croatia and London, he started the GTI NY Summer Program in 2008.
In his current position, he also regularly directs in the mainstage season. His productions have included Tartuffe, The Mineola Twins, Cloud 9, Waiting for Godot and many others.
"William Fisher was selected as a result of a rigorous national search," said Peter Alexander, dean of Butler's Jordan College of Fine Arts. "Butler Theatre has made great strides in recent years and we will continue to move the program forward in exciting ways under his leadership."
Before joining the Ohio University faculty, Fisher taught at The California Institute of the Arts. In Los Angeles from 1986-1992, he was founding artistic director of Zeta Collective, an ensemble theater company.
In the early eighties, Fisher was trained by Etienne Decroux and served as his assistant. After leaving Decroux, he opened his own studio in Paris before returning to the US.
Fisher has been a site reporter for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) theater program, served on the National Movement Theatre Association board of directors and edited Movement Theatre Quarterly.
He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1979 from Indiana University, where he was friends with Janet Allen, who is now the artistic director for the Indiana Repertory Theatre. He earned the equivalent of a master of fine arts from the L'ecole de Mime Etienne Decroux in Paris, France.
Fisher said he looks forward to being at Butler for the construction of a new 450-seat theater, which is scheduled to open in 2013.
"I've been at places where theaters have been built and I know some things about theater spaces," he said. "I'd like to be part of the conversation."
He hopes to further develop production design and visual elements of the theater program and has a strong interest in interdisciplinary practice and research. His professional work has always bridged performance disciplines and practices, as well as new media, visual art, music and sound art.
And he intends to add to the department's international programs and study abroad.
"That, I think, is already a great strength at Butler," he said.